I’ve been playing a game recently. I look at everyone I see as a superhero in disguise. Imagine the barista, the bartender, the homeless kid, and the banker are all superheroes… but they can’t let anyone know it. They must protect their civilian identities at all costs. They have to duck out of sight to transform into their super selves. But I know their secret… And I treat them with the respect a superhero deserves… with gratitude and appreciation. I don’t have to know their exploits to know they are making the world better. I interpret unpleasant behavior as a clever deflectionto protect their secrets. This game has proven to be a lot of fun. There is something powerful in acknowledging the power in everyone I meet. It opens the consideration that if everyone else is a superhero, maybe I’m one, too.
When I was smaller, and my eyes were closer to the ground, I walked through hills of fallen leaves. Under, between, and on top of the leaves were the brown and black seeds of the pecan trees. Some had fallen prematurely, and were protected from prying hands by their ash-colored pods. Others had tiny holes that revealed something had found its dinner inside the shell. It was a great quest to find the healthy hard shells, and the treasures within. By sqeezing two pecan nuts together, a boy could crack them both to reveal the sweet soft meat with a taste that suggets butter and caramel come from the same tree.
Today I eat Pecans of Merritt, a Christmas gift from my father’s sister, from a plastic bag. I feel the damp Autumn Oklahoma air. I see the pecan trees in my father’s yard, and I taste the sweetness of hundreds of seeds that lie in the grass among the leaves.
Last week I was engaged in a wonderful motivational dialogue. I’ve always been interested in the Magic that dwells within human experience, so the New Age philosophies have been a natural part of the psychic landscape of my journey. At some point I became disillusioned by the limitations of catchy phrases such as “Do what you love and the money will come” and “By spending our money, we make room for more abundance to come in.” Yeah, right.
I did what I loved and spent money like it was going out of style. And then I looked up one day to discover myself $10,000 in debt, and feeling empty in my experience. I looked at a couple of more objective concepts. “If you spend more money than you make, you will be depleted” and conversely “If you make more money than you spend, you will have a surplus.” This helped me dig myself out of the hole, and I am continuing my climb back toward the sunshine. I also became a prisoner for a while of five of my senses and a limited view of my potential, and so my existence continued to feel meaningless, but I had simple concrete, if uninspired, goals.
In the conversation I was talking about, my friend, Sean, pointed out the difference between Old New Age philosophy, “Everything happens because it is supposed to” and New New Age philosophy, “I am the creator of my life through the CHOICES I MAKE.” These concepts aren’t mutually exclusive, but the former focuses on acceptance of our situation while the latter focuses on our responsibility to decide what to do with the situation at hand. I have become more and more aware of choices available in my own life, and how soft my decision-making muscles have become.
The question at hand is: “What do I want my life to look like?” I need an answer to this in order to inform the decisions I make from moment to moment.
We define ourselves through our choices. To not make a choice is to remain undefined.
This thought occurred to me a couple of nights ago, and it haunts me, like a fog through which shapes of the landscape are only barely suggested. I am noticing an increasing number of choices available. For instance, this blog entry is being written because I chose to write rather than watch THE LAST SAMURI. I choose each word that goes onto the page, and quite meticulously the order of the words.
I have a confession: A few people have said to me that I’m quoteable, and I always smile shyly. The truth is that, to me, that is the highest compliment I could ever receive. I love words, and the thought that I could conjure a phrase that would make a deep enough impact to be remembered and shared again makes me high. I choose my words very carefully with that as a major motive. Shhh… don’t tell anyone. (Hmmph… somehow it’s easier to type this out than I think it would be to say it out loud.)
Survival of the Fittest
Americans hear the word “fittest” and we think “most fit” rather than “best fit.” If you think about it, Darwin was suggesting the individuals best adapted to the environment are the ones who propogate and continue the species, not necessarily the most physically powerful.
Some people believe that the strongest, fastest, and most aggressive survive, but these traits are of no value if the air becomes unbreatheable for most people and the water becomes toxic or the terrain becomes suddenly untransversable. The ones who survive cataclysmic changes, whether they are docile or war-mongering, are those who have adapted to the new environment, either biologically or technologically.